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1 posts from October 2009

October 12, 2009

Top 10 reasons to buy houses rather than flats ... every time ....

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Picture:  one of our four bedroom houses in Basingstoke, Hants. 

From our experience of purchasing both houses and flats over the past five and a half years, we have come to the conclusion that we will not buy another flat outside of London again - London being its own unique micro-market where flats can work well.  We thought we would share with you our reasons for this:

1. Houses are freehold, flats are generally leasehold.

2. Cash flow is better off a house than a flat, as flats/apartments have service charges that bite into cash flow.

3. You can extend a house, put on a conservatory, do a loft conversion, convert a garage into an extra room etc. You can not do any of that with a flat! All these things ADD VALUE.

4. Houses have gardens/useable outside space and storage. Flats are restricted on both fronts.

5. There is an over-supply of flats, and less and less houses being built, meaning that houses will be at a premium in the future.

6. With more and more people working from home (a growing and long lasting trend), space is going to be an important consideration and houses can offer a home office in the garden or over a detached garage.

7. Flats are supported by the amateur investor market and first time buyers - meaning that they are very volatile with both rental and selling prices extremely fragile. Houses are supported by more sophisticated investors and family buyers, meaning that they have more stability in the market place.

8. Houses can be let in single occupancy or multi-let formats, giving you more flexibility and less chance of voids.

9. Houses open up your tenant market to families, house sharers, and therefore have wider appeal. Families do not tend to rent flats!  My experience is that there is a greater turnover of tenants in flats.  In houses, tenants tend to put down roots, and stay longer.

10. Mortgage products are more favourable for houses than flats on the LTV front, meaning lenders see houses as lower risk. That should tell you something!

If you would like to join a lively discussion on this subject, please visit our Property Tribes forum and join the discussion >>>>> here.